SSDI & SSI for Intellectual Disability

Ortega Disability Group

Filing With an Intellectual Disability for SSI or SSDI

An intellectual disability is a mental impairment that results in reduced cognitive ability and below-average intelligence. Intellectual disabilities are lifelong conditions that usually begin at birth, and often individuals with these impairments require assistance and supportive care throughout their lives.

Intellectual disorders fall on a spectrum, meaning they can range from extremely debilitating, to being hardly noticeable. For example, some people may require help completing simple daily tasks, such as brushing their teeth and getting dressed, while others may require carefully structured routines, mobility assistance, and specialized clinical medical care.

Intellectual disabilities may be caused by birth-related injuries and complications, issues during pregnancy, genetics, etc. There are numerous symptoms associated with these disorders, including trouble learning, low performance and/or full-scale IQ scores, memory issues, difficulty problem solving, various other intellectual functioning impairments, and more. Children and adults are diagnosed by a medical professional after the occurrence of one or more of these types of symptoms.

A majority of people with disabilities need to file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to receive disability benefits. This includes both physical and mental disorders. However, applying for financial benefits with an intellectual disability typically falls under Supplemental Security Income (SSI) rather than SSDI.

Does Intellectual Disability Qualify for SSI?

Intellectual disorders can cause a variety of symptoms, many of which are singularly debilitating or overwhelming when combined. Adults and children with intellectual disabilities exhibit varying degrees of learning capability, but it typically takes them longer to pick up new skills and perform new tasks.

Due to the limitations people with intellectual disabilities face, adults and children can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits and SSI, as long as they meet the criteria for Intellectual Disabilities in the Blue Book.

Disability Benefits For Intellectual Disorders

Intellectual Disability and Social Security Benefits

Applying for SSDI or SSI involve filing a claim with the Social Security Administration under any specific disorder category in the Blue Book, or under a combination of impairments and symptoms that limit your daily function and abilities. The main difference between SSDI and SSI is who benefits and who is eligible.

SSDI is designed to help support disabled individuals who are unable to take part in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), and therefore cannot support themselves financially. Qualifying individuals are significantly impacted by their disabilities, the resulting symptoms, side effects of treatments/medications, and many often have trouble completing simple, everyday tasks.

SSI is different from SSDI in that it is reserved for individuals who have limited resources and have not worked in their lifetime, or haven’t worked long enough to put money into Social Security, and therefore do not qualify for SSDI. These include elderly individuals over age 65, individuals who are blind or partially blind, children, and individuals who have a condition that has prevented them from working and is expected to last for at least 12 months.

Children with intellectual disabilities qualify for SSI over SSDI, and many of these children continue receiving SSI after they turn 18 because they were always unable to work prior to becoming a legal adult.

Filing for SSDI or SSI for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

Filing for disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income can be a difficult and complicated process if you are unfamiliar with the legal requirements, especially when filing with an Intellectual Disability.

In order to successfully file for SSI or SSDI with an intellectual disability, the claimant must file their claim under the associated Blue Book listing, 12.05 Intellectual Disorder. The claimant must meet the criteria under this listing in order to qualify for benefits, although they may be eligible for a vocational allowance if they don’t meet the Blue Book’s qualifying definition.

When filing a disability claim for intellectual disability, the claimant must provide substantial medical evidence to support their diagnosis, as well as non-medical evidence, i.e. low IQ scores that meet the criteria listed in section 12.05, and further evidence that supports the claim they are unable to take part in SGA and have significant work related limitations.

Common Symptoms of Intellectual Disabilities

Some symptoms and limitations commonly experienced by individuals with intellectual disabilities include the following:

  • Full scale, verbal, or performance IQ test score below 70
  • Speech Impairment
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Dependence on Others for Basic Needs/Tasks
  • Inability to Follow Instructions
  • Inability to Understand/Learn New Information
  • Limited Ability to Adapt or Manage Oneself

Ortega Disability Group – Your Social Security Disability Attorney in California

If you are struggling to file for SSI or SSDI under intellectual disability, contact the lawyers at Ortega Disability Group today to schedule a free consultation. With our legal experience and knowledge of the Social Security system, you can rely on us to file your claim appropriately, and increase your chances of being approved for benefits.

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